So You Want To “Repeal Obamacare,” Do You?

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

UPDATE: Oh, and BTW, people kinda like Obamacare after all — and are signing up in record numbers.


With the election of Donald Trump as President and solid Republican majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, is seen as a very likely target for swift repeal. After all, Republicans have made the promise to repeal Obama’s signature reform law central to the last three general election campaigns. But as Salon’s Matt Rozsa reports, the plan to repeal Obamacare is looking more convoluted every day:

Republicans are be determined to pass an Obamacare repeal bill as soon as Donald Trump becomes president in January, but after that, everything seems to be up in the air. And so, in true free-market fashion, they’re prepared to give the health insurance industry a massive bailout to counter the problems they’re going to create. [Pols emphasis]

Republicans in congress are talking to health insurance companies, The Hill reported Thursday, hoping that they can prevent a collapse of the insurance market if and when they repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The idea is for the Trump administration to pay any insurance companies that suffer heavy losses as a result of Obamacare’s repeal. This approach may prevent premiums from rising and patients from being dropped by their plans (maybe), but it would certainly be viewed as a bailout to insurance companies — one of the very charges Republicans made against President Obama when he was trying to pass the Affordable Care Act.

That Republicans are settling on a plan that would give insurance companies an enormous bailout to weather losses caused by the ACA’s repeal is particularly galling here in Colorado, where Sen. Cory Gardner has grandstanded against the idea of “Obamacare bailouts”–like the loans provided to Colorado HealthOP, the Obamacare insurance co-op forced to shut down last year after federal funds to keep the operation solvent while starting up were cut off. Despite Gardner’s role in cutting the co-op funds off, Gardner mischaracterized the “bailout” of the co-ops in terms that surely can’t make this new plan to bail out commercial insurers look good:

Several co-ops counted on these bailout provisions to keep premiums artificially low. Because these premiums were artificially low and since many co-ops were planning on receiving the bailout, many could no longer cover their expenses.

In other words, exactly what Republicans plan to do with the rest of Obamacare–bailouts to keep premiums “artificially low!” Except Republicans don’t find this presumably much larger bailout to be a problem, since it’s helping getting rid of a law they don’t like. Unfortunately, it’s anybody’s guess what we’ll end up with in the long term. The new “plan” for repeal involves a three-year “transition period,” during which Obamacare will continue to function in some capacity, followed by its eventual replacement with…something else.

They haven’t figured that part out yet.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, made a similar point. “I think once it’s repealed, you will have hopefully fewer people playing politics and [instead] coming together to try to find the best policy,” McCarthy said, before adding that “a date certain that something’s going away . . .  you know you have to have something done.” [Pols emphasis]

For the millions of Americans and thousands of Coloradans who have gotten covered through the Affordable Care Act, and millions more who have benefited from the law’s numerous reforms to coverage and care that have nothing to do with premiums, this is not reassuring in the least. As for Gardner, now so willing to swallow the “bailouts” that outraged him before they became part of a Republican plan?

Is there no one left to call out his absolute hypocrisy?

5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ZappateroZappatero says:

    Does this mean Colorado Pols and its Elected Leaders support Obamacare, or only that Repubs are stoopid to say they'll repeal it? 

    Because there is a difference, and as stoopid as R's might be, Democrats did not support it!

    Post-election every critique seems to be interpreted as saying "Clinton would've have won if only, …". I don't know what the Clinton campaign should have done.

    I do know what Democrats should have been/should be doing better generally.

    The first thing is to have simple policy proposals. The complexity of life is sometimes as draining as its expense. And, yes, the back end of any government policy is going to be complicated, that's why you hire people to run the bureaucracy. You don't have the to make it complicated for people to use.

    The second is to take credit for them (or don't pass them if you don't think you should.) Whatever the flaws of Obamacare, there's good stuff in there. The Obama administration touts this stuff but I rarely see other Dems do it.

    The third is to realize that most of the country loves the policies the Washington Post editorial board hates. That's the DC bubble.

    Yet CPols will dutifully supply us with funny GIFS and high-quality photoshop jobs on Trump the next 4  8  years. Bennet didn't support Obama other than superficially. Udall? Ditto. Our congresscritters? I don't know because all I see here is Lamebrain and an out of touch state Democratic organization.

    Bennet and Udall were and are far too worried about the WaPo OpEd page than the people of Colorado, and it shows/showed.

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Zap, ya know I luvs ya, but wtf are you talking about?

    I agree that both Bennet and Udall, along with most Congresscritters, could have supported single payer (remember Bennet saying ACA was the hill he'd die on? Or at least, lose his seat for?) But "Medicare for All" remains this stunningly simple, efficient, and least costly (to consumers and taxpayers) of all of the health plans out there – yet very few of our elected representatives will back it.

    Medicare for all would  turn the insurance industry upside down. They'd have to shift  from justifying how to deny people care and reimbursement to providing the needed services at the lowest cost (bye big Pharma 30% profit margin). There would be massive "job churn" – but most people employed in the health care industry would still be employed in the healthcare industry. I don't see why the industry should get a bailout when they're so profitable now. But then, I'm not a Republican.

    But Zap, what is this about the Washington Post editorial board?  Did they come out against Obamacare?



  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    Gardner us up for re-election in four years.  By that time, we should be able how effective Republicans replacement plans are.  Gardner has all the time he needs to support a better replacement program.

    He can also lie about how much more effective the Republican plan is.  Gosh, I wonder is he will choose lying over doing something for the good of the country.  Time will tell.

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    Gardner us up for re-election in four years.  By that time, we should be able to see how effective Republican replacement plans are.  Gardner has all the time he needs to support a better replacement program.

    He can also lie about how much more effective the Republican plan is.  Gosh, I wonder is he will choose lying over doing something for the good of the country.  Time will tell.

  5. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Here's a good piece on the procedural options for the Republicans to gut ObamaCare.  It turns out, RyanCare is almost identical to ObamaCare.  Who'd have thunk? 

    In other words, Ryancare is basically Obamacare by another name. This is no coincidence. Health insurance, like any other kind of insurance, fundamentally relies on access to a large, random pool of people. In any given year, the few sick ones are paid for by the large number of healthy ones. But once you tinker with that by allowing healthy people to opt out, the whole system collapses. One way or another, you can save it only by forcing healthy people back into the pool and then providing subsidies to the ones who can't afford coverage no matter what the law requires of them.


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